As a first-generation American of Haitian descent, I was raised with stories of how my ancestors fought for freedom, and how no matter what burdens we may suffer as a Haitian people, we know we set ourselves free. I am Haitian, but I was raised here in the United States. You cannot know my heritage just by looking at me. I’m black in America. Like many people who share my skin color, slavery is this terrible, looming thing that is part of an inescapable distant past. Instead of offering me some new insights on this troubling reality, Django Unchained simply served as a reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Given that it is Haitian American Heritage Month, I thought I’d bring out a Roxane Gay quote. This one is from the essay Survivng Django.